Back pain is sometimes caused by injury to specific tissues although we know that pain can occur without specific tissue damage.
There are different tissues in the back that can be injured and that can sometimes lead to back pain. These injuries can affect:
- Discs: this is very common and is often due to normal age-related changes.
- The joints: problems with your facet joints between the vertebrae are common just like other joints in the body.
- Ligaments: for example, when you are lifting excessive weight, this can be similar to spraining a ligament in your ankle.
- Muscle: strains or tears can occur in sport, or sometimes when doing normal daily activities.
- Bones: fractures (breaks) are much less common and usually related to more severe accidents or conditions affecting the structure of the bones such as Osteoporosis.
- Nerve or spinal cord injury: this is very uncommon and is usually related to a high impact accident.
As we have discussed, symptoms of a disc prolapse often recover on their own. However, it can cause progressive weakness in the limbs. If you are experiencing this or leg pain with incontinence, problems going to the toilet, numbness in your saddle area or problems walking due to numbness and weakness it may be an emergency, so it is advised you go immediately to A&E.